Are cerebral and behavioural lateralization related to anxiety-like traits in the animal model zebrafish (Danio rerio)? (2020)


Brain lateralization refers to hemispheric asymmetries in functions and/or neuroanatomical structures. Functional specialization in non-human animals has been mainly inferred through observation of lateralized motor responses and sensory perception. Only in a few cases has the influence of brain asymmetries on behaviour been described. Zebrafish has rapidly become a valuable model to investigate this issue as it displays epithalamic asymmetries that have been correlated to some lateralized behaviours. Here we investigated the relation between neuroanatomical or behavioural lateralization and anxiety using a light-dark preference test in adult zebrafish. In Experiment 1, we observed how scototaxis response varied as a function of behavioural lateralization measured in the detour task as turning preference in front of a dummy predator. In Experiment 2, foxD3:GFP transgenic adult zebrafish with left or right parapineal position, were tested in the same light-dark test as fish in Experiment 1. No correlation was found between the behaviour observed in the detour test and in the scototaxis test nor between the left- and right-parapineal fish and the scototaxis response. The consistency of results obtained in both experiments indicates that neither behavioural nor neuroanatomical asymmetries are related to anxiety-related behaviours measured in the light-dark test.